A Prayer for Catechists: Stories of Scripture

This prayer originally appeared in my book, The Catechist’s Toolbox: How to Thrive as a Religious Education Teacher. Download a PDF version of the prayer here. For more resources on Scripture in faith formation, see: Putting Scripture Front and Center in Faith Formation Are You Biblically Animated? Introducing Catholics to the Bible: Free Parent-Child Session “What’s Your Story?” Inviting Children into a Healthy Narrative Bible Bell Work Biblical Literacy for Catechists

Bible Bell Work

I always have “bell work” for children to begin as soon as they arrive in the classroom. These are short activities that engage early arrivals as the rest of the class arrives during the first 10–15 minutes. While students are doing their bell work, I can take attendance, check homework, hand back completed work, and attend to other tasks, like notes from parents. One of the easiest forms of bell work I have is Bible […]

Celebrating the Sunday of the Word of God, Third Sunday in Ordinary Time

In recent years, I have been increasingly convinced of the notion that our lives are guided by a narrative that is shaped by many factors and influences from the day we were born. This narrative colors how we see ourselves, others, and all of reality, including God. This concept is very familiar to people participating in twelve-step groups, since the healing process involves eradicating unhealthy narratives (“stinking thinking”) and replacing them with a healthy narrative. As […]

The Bible Blueprint 10th Anniversary Giveaway

I was thrilled to learn recently that Pope Francis has declared the Third Sunday of Ordinary Time as “Word of God Sunday,” with the first observation of this taking place on January 26, 2020. What a great way to highlight the role of Scripture in the faith lives of Catholics! It is through Scripture that God reveals himself to us as a God who seeks to rescue, restore, and reassure us. This is our story—our […]

Catechists Hungry for Knowledge of Scripture: A Look Back at Our Poll

Recently, we conducted one of our informal polls to get a peek into the minds and hearts of catechists. In this particular poll, we asked: Which area of Catholic teaching do you most need to grow in understanding? With 51% of the vote (as of 9/6/19), Scripture, by far, is the area in which catechists most feel a need to grow in their understanding. This is not surprising. While we Catholics have made great advances […]

“What’s Your Story?” Inviting Children into a Healthy Narrative

Among the many popular digital entertainment apps available today are those known as “interactive story” apps in which players “enter into” a storyline that is not predetermined and make choices that determine the story’s outcome. One such game, What’s Your Story?, invites players to choose from favorite movies and TV shows and to become a character in the story, making the story their own. The truth is, we all have a story or a narrative […]

Are You Biblically Animated?

At a meeting I recently attended at my alma mater, the Institute of Pastoral Studies (Loyola University), I heard a phrase I’d not heard before: biblical animation. It’s not a new phrase, but it was new to me! First, biblical animation does not refer to cartoon drawings of Bible scenes. Rather, biblical animation refers to activity that is “powered by” (animated by) an encounter with Christ in Scripture. Second, it would seem that the concept of […]

Creating the “Aroma of the Gospel” Through Stories

In order to introduce people to Jesus Christ, it is incumbent on us catechists to tell the stories of Jesus’ amazing deeds, beginning with the stories we have in Scripture in which he opens the eyes of the blind, heals the sick, changes water into wine, calms the storm, and raises people from the dead. Too often, we rush to teach doctrinal concepts while those we’re teaching don’t even know the story of Jesus Christ! As catechists, […]

Scripture Gives God a Face and a Voice

Imagine getting into a conversation with a friend and asking him/her to tell you about his/her spouse or some other significant person whom he/she claims to love, and he/she comes up completely blank—unable to describe what that person looks like, what personality characteristics he/she has, or what stories reveal that person’s essence. You would no doubt be suspicious (and rightly so) about whether or not your friend truly knows this other person or if this […]

Biblical Literacy for Catechists: The Prophets

This is the final article in a series about figures in Salvation history and their relevance for catechists. What is a prophet? The word prophet means “to speak for.” A prophet, then, is someone who speaks for God. When God wanted to speak to his people, he often chose someone to remind them of the covenant and its promises. Catechists can help students get to know these important spokespersons for God so they can become […]

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